Goodbye to affordable landline service?

20141029_PhoneSurveyWhile you’re heading to the polls today, CUB is gearing up for a key legislative battle this spring.

The Illinois Telecommunications Act—important legislation that protects your rights and keeps telephone landline rates low—is scheduled to be rewritten in 2015. Millions of Illinois households, including many of our most vulnerable citizens, depend on landline service to stay connected to friends, family and vital services.

But if Big Telecom has its way, the law will likely be rewritten to completely deregulate the telephone industry.

Namely, this would erase two important consumer protections that CUB has defended for years:

1.) “Safe Harbor” local calling plans, such as the AT&T Consumer’s Choice plans that CUB helped negotiate.

These no-frill plans range from about $3 to $20 per month and are designed to match the way most callers use the phone. The plans, which are under a state-mandated rate freeze, have saved Illinois consumers an estimated $10 million a year. Without these plans, budget-conscious Illinoisans will be subject to whatever AT&T or Frontier want to charge for phone service.

2.) The “Obligation to Serve” requirement

This stipulation mandates phone companies provide service in all areas of Illinois. Without this protection, Illinois would be one of the only states to allow phone companies to potentially abandon areas they deem “unprofitable.”

CUB wants to hear from you so that we can better advocate for you in Springfield this spring.  Take our survey and we’ll send you more information on how to cut your phone bills!

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